5 Awful Horror Anime
by Stephanie Donaldson & Jacki Jing,
We're changing tone and having a look at the spine tingling and spooky. Horror anime can be some of the most intense, confronting shows you can watch. Series such as Monster and Higurashi: When They Cry question what it means to be human and push the boundaries of the surreal and the grotesque. On the other hand, there are horror series that just flop. They make you scratch your head and wonder what they're trying to get at or failed by their characters. So let's check out five horror anime that are so bad, it's scary!
King's Game follows a simple premise - students of a certain class are sent orders that they must complete before the day's end, or they die. No one knows where the orders are coming from, and the class descends into a Lord of the Flies-esque free for all as everyone fights to survive. It's not the best survival game idea out there, but it's intriguing enough to grab a viewer's attention. But where the show really falls flat is contrived it becomes. The anime follows two games - one that's currently playing out and a past one. Flashbacks are so heavily used, that it's like jumping between two different shows. Characters are just punishment fodder in a cheap attempt to keep the audience interested, there's no development, no backstories. Just a shock-jock blood bath. From the animation to the art and story - the series doesn't have any redeeming features, and is definitely a ‘must skip’.
If you haven't read the Pupa manga I'm sure you've at least heard of its infamous anime adaptation. The series follows siblings Utsusu and Yume, who are infected by a virus. The virus affects them differently, where Yume turns into a flesh-eating monster, Utsutsu gains the ability to heal and regenerate himself. To maintain Yume's humanity, Utsutsu allows his sister to feast on his flesh. The anime is a short series, twelve episodes at about four minutes each. While we can definitely appreciate how difficult it would be to adapt a five volume manga in such a short space of time, it's no excuse for what a mess it is. The series throws everything the manga was trying to convey out the window. A theme of sibling bonds is turned into a grossly sexualised blood fest. Even that is barely conveyed, as scenes are haphazardly put together, with barely any connection to one another. We would almost argue that no effort had been put into this adaptation, but there's the scenes of Yume eating Utsutsu. The entire efforts and probably budget of the anime were probably put into making these scenes as nauseating as possible. Pupa the anime is not worth anyone's time, but if it is a story you're interested in for the love of horror read the manga instead.
It almost physically pains me to put Junji Ito and the phrase ‘awful’ together, but there's no doubt that the anime adaptation of his works was just that. Junji Ito is widely regarded as a master of Japanese horror. Many of his works can be characterised as a slow descent into madness, as seemingly everyday people are entranced with and cursed by the supernatural. With a hard nod to body horror, Ito combines the grotesque with fears surrounding our own mortality. Yet this horror adaptation of his short story, missed everything that makes Ito great.
Infamous characters such as Souichi and Tomie were haphazardly shoved between stories, appearing more as irritating children than figures that inspire fear. Perhaps the greatest frustration was that the series gave up on itself. Short cuts seem to have been taken at every possible turn, distilling the atmospheric and detailed art of Ito into bland, one note scenes. It's very possible that anime just does not suit Ito's work. In 2012 his series Gyo was adapted into an anime film and the same complaints here can be applied to it. Whatever the case may be, Ito's collection is definitely better appreciated on the page.
The Blood franchise started in 2000 with the film Blood: The Last Vampire. From there, the story spawned a series of light novels, manga, video games, a live action film and two anime spin-offs. The second of these anime spin-offs is Blood-C written and designed by CLAMP. The story follows Saya, a normal high school girl who by night fights monsters called Elder Bairns. To be honest, we were a tad apprehensive at seeing a horror series by CLAMP. CLAMP is a talented group, there's no doubt, they create unique, and whimsical stories and worlds. Horror seems so out of field for them, but much to our surprise, the horror elements were fantastic! It was the story pacing and characters that made this a snoozefest.
The story goes along at a snail's pace, only made more tedious by the one dimensional characters that populate Saya's life. At the best of times it's tolerably tropey and at the worst, it's mind-numbing. But perhaps the biggest sin of the series is its ending. It brings up far more questions than answers, and forces viewers to tune into a, at the time in-development, film to get any sense of closure. It's a cheap gimmick that leaves a bad taste in our mouth.
It just wouldn't be right to not end this list without an anime that has the lowest rating on MyAnimeList we've ever seen. So low, that despite the many warnings, we could not help but watch it. Mars of Destruction is an OVA adaptation of a PS2 game of the same name, and let's just say we're all really glad that only one episode was ever made. After a spaceship returning from a mission to Mars explodes, remnants of the wreckage land on Earth. From then on monsters called ‘Ancients’ wreak havoc across Japan, and it's up to a makeshift team of fighters to stop them. The episode is just twenty minutes of very confusing decisions stitched together. From Beethoven music during fight scenes to the episode's ridiculous final reveal, we're convinced the series's 2.28 score is almost too kind.
From series that don't do their source material justice, or plain just don't make sense, it seems that for every goosebump inducing horror anime there's a disappointing one. We hope that you've found the list of horror anime you can skip helpful.
Last week, we asked you what anime you're looking forward to in the second half of 2020, here are the results!
- Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- TV 2
- My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax
- Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table
- Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2
- Golden Kamuy
This week we want to know what horror series left you feeling disappointed. Let us know your top (or low) five here!
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